The Art of Procrastination

NEW* at Hostos Library!


A useful, light-hearted, very short book written by a lifelong procrastinator for fellow procrastinators. Learn about “structured procrastination” and see how it might be able to help you, and figure out if you too suffer from “right parentheses deficit disorder”, and how collaborating with those strange humans who do not procrastinate might actually be a good thing.

Don’t wait until the end of the semester to take a look at this quick, humorous, relatable read at the library. Call number BF 637 .P76 P46 2012

*New-ish…it has taken a little while to get around to writing this post.

April 22, 2014 – You are Not a Gadget

You are not a gadget: a manifesto
by Jaron Lanier


“The most important thing about technology is how it changes people.”

Jaron Lanier, a long time computer scientist–and controversial, outspoken critic of many aspects of computer science today–poses provocative questions about how we interact with each other through social media of all sorts, how we share and construct ideas, and how we try to solve problems or believe (perhaps wrongly) that we can solve all problems through new technology.

Whether or not you agree with his analysis, Lanier asks questions and makes assertions that will make you think.


Bonus links: Read a review from The Washington Post. 
Read an excerpt of the book here.

Now at Hostos Library!

Where to find it: this book is shelved in the main reading room, under H for social sciences (HM is the sub-category for sociology). You can see more on how books are organized by subject here.

The call number on the side of the book will look like this. (Look at the cards on the sides of the shelves to find where “HM” is first, then find the rest line-by-line.)

Questions about finding books in the reading room?  Come ask a librarian!

April 2, 2014 – The Cardboard Valise

The Cardboard Valise
by Ben Katchor

KatchorBrooklyn-based cartoonist Ben Katchor writes and draws comics like no one else. As detailed and peculiar and familiar-made-strange as a long dream, as whimsical and melancholy as a wry poem or uncensored fairy tale, Katchor’s comics create a parallel world and then stick to that world’s logic as life goes on for its inhabitants.

Along the way, we find absurd discoveries, unanswerable questions, and bittersweet or resigned happiness. Enter his “picture-stories” and let them take you on their journeys.

Now at Hostos Library!

Bonus links!
Read an excerpt here.
Ben Katchor’s own website is here.

March 26, 2014 – Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design

Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design
By Chip Kidd

GoKidd“Everything needs to be designed.  Because there’s so much stuff everywhere, we tend to take for granted that someone has to make it all.  It isn’t until you try to create some of it yourself that you start to appreciate the thought and the effort that it can take to design things.” (from the introduction)

In this (no surprise!) beautifully designed and well-illustrated book by award-winning designer Chip Kidd, the author introduces us to key concepts in graphic design such as scale, juxtaposition, use of light and dark, cropping, color theory, positive/negative space, and much more.

Even if you’ve never thought about graphic design before, Kidd writes (and designs) in a way that invites you in, and reading this book is like talking with an uncle who is fantastically good at the thing he does, and happy to share with you what he knows and loves about it.

As the author says, “learning the thinking behind how those images are made will help you figure out why the visual world works the way it does, and how you can be part of creating it.  Or at least, avoid being too manipulated by it.”

Bonus link: Kidd is best known for his many book cover designs.  You can take a look at some of them here.

March 20, 2014 – The New York Nobody Knows

The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
by William Helmreich

NY Nobody

Native New Yorker (and CUNY sociology professor) William Helmreich spent four years walking up and down NYC streets in all five boroughs, talking to people from all walks (sorry!) of life.  From rich neighborhoods to poor ones, from tightly-knit immigrant communities to blocks undergoing rapid change from gentrification, Helmreich started conversations with everyone he met (and he says almost every New Yorker he approached was willing to talk with him; we are a city that knows how to talk!).

He wrote all about his discoveries and observations in this book.  As one reviewer says, “At its core, The New York that Nobody Knows is about what it means to live in a city that is both con­stantly changing and perpetually resistant to change — and where the resulting reality is endlessly fascinating.”

Now at Hostos Library!

Bonus link: read an article written by a reporter who spent a day in the Bronx walking with the author.

March 13, 2014 – Americanah

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AmericanahIn Americanah, two young lovers leave their home country; one comes to the United States, while the other is diverted to England, and their paths diverge. Ifemelu does well as a student, and sharply observes (and creates a popular blog about) American attitudes, categories, insecurities, and assumptions about race. Fifteen years later, when she and her old love Obinze (back in Nigeria with a wife and a nice house) meet again, they have difficult decisions to make.

As one reviewer says: “Part fairy tale, part adventure, the ambitious novel follows Ifemelu and Obinze with attention and sympathy, charting their humiliations and indignities, their failures and successes, capturing in empathetic detail what happens when people go in search of choice and certainty far from home.”

Now at Hostos Library!

Bonus links:
Read an interview from the New York Times.
Read an excerpt from the book.

Bonus bonus links:
Great TED talk video by the author on “The Danger of a Single Story” (transcripts available in 40 languages!)

Next Wednesday, March 19 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks with British author Zadie Smith at the NYPL! This event is sold-out, but can be watched as a live stream online here.

March 5, 2014 – Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit 
by Jeanette Winterson
OrangesWintersonThis story of a young girl growing up in a cold, stern household is, as the author says, ” for anyone interested in what happens at the frontiers of common-sense. Do you stay safe or do you follow your heart?”

With keen, witty, and imaginative writing, Jeanette Winterson’s first (semi-autobiographical) novel introduces us to one bright and curious young girl’s awakening in industrial, northern England in the 1960s.

At Hostos Library now!

Bonus links: read an excerpt from the book here 

Read an interview with the author from the Paris Review.

One quote from that interview: “You are hypnotized as soon as you get into a book that particularly works for you, whether it’s fiction or a poem. You find that your defenses drop, and as soon as that happens, an imaginative reality can take over because you are no longer censoring your own perceptions, your own awareness of the world.

“Most of us spend a lot of time censoring everything that we see and hear. Does it fit with our world picture? And if it doesn’t, how can we shut it out, how can we ignore it, how can we challenge it? We are continually threatened in life, it’s true. But once you are alone with a book, and it’s also true with a picture or with music, all those defenses drop and you can enter into a quite different space where you will learn to feel differently about yourself. “

Feb 26, 2014 – The Big Truck that Went By

The Big Truck that Went By : How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster 

by Jonathan M. Katz









I wanted to write this book to understand how a massive humanitarian effort, led by the most powerful nation in the world–my country–could cause so much harm and heartache in another that wanted its help so badly.
– Jonathan M. Katz

An experienced journalist who was living in Haiti in 2010 when a terrible earthquake devastated the island writes about the aftermath of not only the natural disaster but the human catastrophes related to efforts that in theory were supposed to make things better.

“There’s a word in Haitian Creole, dégagé, which basically translates as ‘muddling through’ or ‘hustling’, every hour of every day just to get by.  The aid industrialized countries give to Haiti is part of dégagé, you as a foreigner are part of dégagé, but we’re not the whole thing.  Haitians are capable of taking care of themselves, they just need the tools.”

Bonus links: Read a thought-provoking interview with the author here.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Now at Hostos Library!


Feb 19, 2014 – The Hours, by Michael Cunningham

What’s new at Hostos Library?

The Hours
by Michael Cunningham
Virginia Woolf came along in the early part of the century and essentially said through her writing, yes, big books can be written about the traditional big subjects. There is war. There is the search for God. These are all very important things. But […] if you look hard and close enough, if you look with enough art at anything that happens to any human being, you can find the whole story there.
– Michael Cunningham, from this interview.

One writer, one reader, and one woman whose life is echoing the life of the character who is being written and read. In this Pulitzer award-winning novel, Michael Cunningham chronicles one day in the life of each of these women, decades and continents apart, bringing their internal worlds to life with insight, beauty, tragedy, and precision.

Step into the intertwining worlds of this book and get immersed in the moments and “the hours” of life.

Now at Hostos Library!
Bonus link: Read an excerpt here

Feb 13, 2014 – In the Skin of a Lion

What’s new at Hostos Library?
In the SkinIn the Skin of a Lion
by Michael Ondaatje

Toronto is a city of immigrants…but there is very little official history about who they were, what their lives were like. I didn’t want to talk about politicians or historical figures. I wanted to talk about the people who were unhistorical – all those invisible professions that lay behind history.
– Michael Ondaatje, about this novel

This gorgeously poetic novel written by (surprise!) an award-winning poet and novelist introduces us to a cluster of people who find each other in a rapidly growing city. Although there is a bit of plot and a lot of history if you’re looking for it, the real draw is the book’s vivid language, and the images and feelings it evokes.

One reviewer says, “It’s as though Ondaatje is showing us the world through a magic magnifying glass, which enlarges everything that is vital and interesting, and obliterates all that is dull. When I read it, every nerve ending that has been de-sensitized by an onslaught of news and facts in the “real world” suddenly starts to feel love and anger, terror and wonder more passionately than before.”

Bonus links: there’s an excerpt included in the review linked above, and another excerpt here.

Now at Hostos Library!